UX Companion

An award-winning glossary of user experience theories and tools

Our side project for the digital community became one of the first native apps to offer a practical glossary of core user experience (UX) principles. Launching with over 50 articles, the app aims to demystify the complex jargon of our industry. The concise introductions and practical tips refresh (or expand) the user’s knowledge of UX terminology.

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At the heart of the vibrant user experience (UX) community, there is a confusing, tangled web of terms. A rich, complex language has developed alongside the core design concepts and techniques of UX. As you can already see, this language draws on a fair amount of acronyms!

Across various projects, the team realised that clients, prospects and even new staff are not entirely fluent in this language. Truthfully, it can be so varied that even other design and development teams do not ‘talk UX’ in quite the same way as us.

We were determined to create a clever tool that could change this situation. Instead of simply opting to create a traditional website glossary, we realised much more could be achieved by building UX Companion, a native app. We planned to release the project for iOS initially, and support Android at a later stage. 

UX Companion aimed to demystify terminology. Developed as a fun research and development project, it would be launched as a free resource for the digital community. 



Firmly committed to a ‘less is more’ philosophy, we devised a simple feature list that could satisfy the full range of end-users. The team imagined the app as a key tool for designers, refreshing their knowledge. But, we worked hard to also satisfy marketers, interested in the technical processes followed by digital agencies.

The app was founded upon a pure, alphabetical list of key UX terminology, hand selected from the abundance of material and jargon we came across on a daily basis. We began with 50 definitions, covering topics from the ‘aesthetic-usability effect’ and ‘80 / 20 rule’, to ‘information architecture’ and ‘the fold’. Each was carefully explained via a brief introduction and practical in-depth description, offering hyperlinks to the best external resources. 

A clean, simple dictionary-style design was chosen. We used bold colours and elegant typography to inspire confidence in our users while they learned the tricky concepts.


We implemented both predictive and alphabetical search, to increase accessibility and provide navigation options. This seemingly simple interface eliminated the need for scrolling, and made UX Companion far easier to use than online glossaries we came across. Similarly, we enabled use offline to satisfy users whatever their context. For instance, this would be helpful for quick access in meetings or travelling. 

We decided to test our concept by developing for iOS first, adding Android at a later stage. As a segment of our audience would be on Android, this was a difficult decision. But, it meant we could quickly release and review feedback for our idea, before committing resources to develop across platforms. 

The app was built in XCode using Objective-C: the native language of iOS. Development began just before iOS8 would be rolled out across Apple products. We quickly adapted to build within a beta version of Xcode, which could simulate iOS8. This avoided asking users to download a new compatible version so soon after launch.

The story so far

Initially, downloads were steady but slow. But, our marketing strategy helped UX Companion go viral in mid-October 2014. Product Hunt and Usability Geek picked it up as a top resource, with 7,000 downloads in a single week. 

Since then, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. UX Companion has received tens of thousands of supportive messages and tweets. By popular demand, we built and launched the Android version in early 2015. In less than a month, it topped over a thousand downloads.

Combined, our tally has broken 31,000 downloads, across 97 countries to date. Astounding really, when it was initially pursued as a passion project juggled with the demands of our client work. 

Our strategy won the Best Mobile Campaign, with the first ever UK Agency Awards. We were even invited to cover our experiences building and promoting side projects like this, with Smashing Magazine



across iOS and Android since June 2014


97 Countries

where users have downloaded the app



at the first UK Agency Awards

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